Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 17 February 2023

Debt swaps for poor nations

GS Paper - 3 (Economy)

With many developing nations facing a triple whammy of rising debt loadsclimate change and nature loss, conservationists say the answer could lie with a financial instrument enabling them to tackle all three at once: “debt-for-environment swaps”. The world’s poorest countries owe $62 billion in annual debt service, a year-on-year increase of 35%, the World Bank said in December, warning of a rising risk of defaults.

What are green debt swaps and how do they work?

  1. Debt swaps are one way to change the terms of a country’s borrowing – with bilateral government lenders, development finance institutions or private banks – either by giving states more time to repay loans or reducing interest rates and the amounts they must pay back.
  2. With the agreement of creditorsdebt swaps can help the world’s low-income countries avoid default and enable them to redeploy part of their debt repayments to invest in measures to tackle climate changenature protectionhealth or education.
  3. For creditors, debt swaps can reduce their risk through additional guarantees and ensure that at least part of a loan is eventually repaid.
  4. The first debt-for-nature swaps were agreed in the mid-1980s, mostly in Latin America, with rich nations the main creditors.
  5. During the last three decadesenvironmental debt swaps were rare and usually relatively small government-to-government agreements for $10 million-$20 million.
  6. 70-80% of countries’ debts are now owed to private creditors, according to WWF – usually banks and asset managers.

Who is pushing debt-for-nature swaps and why?

  1. Developing nations that are struggling to pay back creditors or defaulting on their debt – and thus cannot invest in greening their economies and protecting their rich biodiversity – are pushing for these swaps.
  2. Egypt presented a swap with Germany as a model for others seeking to raise money for clean energy projects when it hosted the U.N. climate summit last November.
  3. Multilateral development banks also see potential in green debt swaps.


Lavani folk dance form in controversy

GS Paper - 1 (Culture)

A well-known Lavani dancer Megha Ghadge complained and “raised the issue of absolute degradation of Lavani culture by using DJs and making girls dance wearing ghaghra choli in front of the public ''.

What is the Lavani folk art form?

  1. The word Lavani comes from ‘lavanya’ or beauty. Lavani is a traditional folk art form in which women dancers wearing nine-yard-long sarees in bright colours, make-up, and ghunghroos perform on dholak beats on a stage before a live audience.
  2. As an indigenous art form, Lavani has a history going back several centuries, and it attained particular popularity in the Peshwa era in the 18th century.
  3. Traditionally, performances were held in front of kings or lords, and for the entertainment of tired soldiers resting during breaks in fighting.
  4. There are several sub-genres of Lavani, of which the most popular is the Shringarik (erotic) kind, in which the lyrics are often teasing, with sensuous dance steps and delicate gestures employed to convey erotic meaning.
  5. Over the years, Lavani has gained more acceptability among the people, even though certain taboos around it continue.
  6. The audience has historically been all-male, but in recent years, some women too have begun to attend performances.
  7. Lavani became well known outside Maharashtra — throughout India and even outside the country — following its use in popular media such as cinema.
  8. Over the past few years, with the explosion in the use of social media, short clips of dances have become very popular.


New IAF doctrine advertises aerospace power

GS Paper - 3 (Defence)

The third iteration of the Indian Air Force doctrine was released; the first two were introduced in 2012 and 1995. The new doctrine has been expanded in length, scope, and detail, and mirrors the blooming potential of air and space as key mediums in which the Indian military can find greater expression and effectiveness.

More about the doctrine

  1. In particular, it misses out on the belief systems that emanate from the reality of our adversaries being nuclear powers.
  2. A reality that overshadows the entire spectrum from ‘peace’ ‘no war, no peace’ to ‘war’.
  3. Notably, escalation potential as a political restraint does not find a place. It should have perhaps helped to flag the point that air strategy has to be cognisant of escalation; though drawing the lines of restraint is a politico-military process.
  4. The doctrine is weighted with liberal use of American buzzwords such as network-centric warfare and multi-domain warfare.
  5. It is also obvious that in terms of perspective, the doctrine is West-inspired. There is perhaps a case for looking at Atmanirbharta and adopting phrases that are closer to the Indian outlook.
  6. This version of the doctrine is certainly a reflection of the intellectual capacity of the IAF to articulate its belief systems based on knowledge, experience, and rational imagination.
  7. It is no secret that the cutting-edge elements of the IAF, like its fighter squadrons, are fraying in quantity and quality.
  8. While the document can provide guidance on prioritisation of acquisition, its operational strategy and tactics have to be anchored in the wherewithal that is going to be available.
  9. Therefore the change of nomenclature to aerospace, though justified, is for the present an aspirational one.


Cabinet Approves to Set up PACS

GS Paper - 2 (Economy)

The Union Cabinet approved setting up of new primary agricultural credit societies (PACS) and dairy-fishery cooperatives in uncovered villages and panchayats. Its implementation will be done over a period of five years and 25 different facilities to be provided through them. Dairy and fishery will also be linked to the agriculture cooperatives. At present, there are around 63,000 functional PACS in the country.


  1. To strengthen the cooperative movement in the country and deepen its reach up to the grassroots.


  1. The initial target is to establish 2 lakh multipurpose PACS/dairy/fishery cooperatives in the next five years.


  1. The plan is to establish PACS in each uncovered panchayat, viable dairy cooperatives in each uncovered panchayat/village and viable fishery cooperatives in each coastal panchayat/village as well as panchayat/village having large water bodies.
  2. The plan will be implemented with the convergence of various schemes by leveraging the ‘whole of government’ approach. The proposal will enable cooperative societies to set up and modernise necessary infrastructure.
  3. It will provide farmer members with requisite forward and backward linkages and enhance their income. The move will also help in generating employment opportunities in rural areas.
  4. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the computerization of PACS to increase the efficiency of PACS as well as to bring transparency and accountability in their operations.
  5. The computerization will help in facilitating PACS to diversify their business and undertake multiple activities/ services.

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